You stand in your doorway and watch as children tumble out past you, running in their ever-running childish state. They are enthusiastic and cheerful and running toward the car waiting by the curb.
“Bye Mom,” they shout climbing over each other to get into the car.
And you stand in your doorway, smiling until you think your cheeks might fissure and crack.
“Bye Guys! Have a great time! I Love You 100% times infinity!”
And in a flash they are gone, and you won’t see or hear from them for two days or maybe it’s a week on those long school vacations.
You find you are actually capable of waving a smiling good-bye to your children while cursing a selfish and nasty ex internally, and you wonder why you keep encouraging the kids to love this person when he is such a jerk to say the least, but there are some good reasons.
5 Reasons to Encourage Your Kids to Love Your Ex
- Court ordered visitation demands the kids go. Unfortunately, except in the cases of severe, well-documented abuse, the courts will demand children go with the other parent, even when that parent can be cruel to them. Let them go with Love in their hearts.
- Your ex can provide things you cannot. Don’t be jealous of the expensive trips, the video games, the fine clothing, and other gifts your child receives from the other parent. It can be hard to know you cannot provide the same gifts whether material or otherwise, but be thankful your children are getting them from somewhere when so many around the world need so many basics. Remember your wealth belongs to the Lord. Be gracious with what you have been given and not jealous when others mistakenly claim ownership of their stuff. It is just stuff. You have been given more than their wealth could buy.
- You have a chance to discuss morals. It is so hard to hand a child over to an ex living with his or her significant other or one who changes partners often or one who drinks too much or gambles or does any number of un-Christian things while making excuses. This is not the way you want to raise your child. These are not the lessons you want him to learn, but this also opens doors to discussions intact families may not have. Use this opportunity to express through your real life example the value and truth in Love the sinner. Hate the sin. Make your expectations clear and live your example fully. Be careful and choosy when you begin dating again. Realize little eyes are watching you. Give them no reason to see you as a hypocrite but as an example. Many think this does not apply as children get older, but it is even more important then when teens and young adults question their own paths.
- You never want your children to feel the way you did. Rem ember when your ex coldly stared at you and told you he didn’t Love you anymore. There is no feeling like that moment. Remember the days, weeks, months you spent after analyzing what went wrong and criticizing every move, word, and thought you ever had? Let most of that garbage go, but hold onto just enough that you know you never want anyone to ever feel that way – especially your children.
- Love will come back to you. When you promote Love, it is always seen, whether it is recognized in a day or in a lifetime, Love and Joy are gifts from the Lord and they are noticeable to your children and to others. Choose to Love and open your heart to the miracle of Love that comes back to you
- Love is a choice. Your ex has chosen not to Love. If you do not want your children to follow in his or her footsteps, the best thing to teach them is to Love, even when it is difficult, even when the other person is unworthy. Love is a choice. Just as you can choose to Love your ex in a non-marital way, you can promote Love of the imperfect parent by your children.
It can be hard to find reasons your children should Love the other parent, but the reasons are there. Next time, while standing in the doorway, waving good-bye, realize there are parents all over this world doing the same thing, feeling the same way. The difference between you and too many of them is that you will choose to Love.
If you have more to add, please continue the list in comments or email me!
Single Mom Smiling’s 2nd monthly newsletter yet comes out tomorrow. What does the Synod on the Family mean to a divorced Catholic? Is there value in an annulment or is it just a “Catholic divorce?” Pray for those who requested prayers last month and request prayers of your own too. Hope you join me…
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3 thoughts on “6 Reasons to Encourage Your Children to Love Your Ex”
Too many times, the “ex” has been disparaged so much by the other spouse that in the children’s eyes their role as a loving parent, a Father or a Mother has been irreversibly bent, never to be straightened. One of the Cardinal rules of divorce is to never speak ill of the other spouse, though in reality it is one of the first to fly out the divorce window. Like a bullet fired after pulling the trigger, all you can do is try and clean up the mess afterwards. And also like a bullet fired, sometimes there is no recovery for the wounded, whether child or parent.
This is a beautiful post! It is so necessary that our children love both of their parents without reservation. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ever closely united with those who make acts of sacrificial love, especially during times of extreme suffering. God bless you for your courage and for your obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit!
Thank You Lora. Yes, it is difficult but Love is so needed today. With God’s Grace, all things are possible.
God Bless You…
I was thinking of you and how excited you must have been to have your Papa in the USA! 🙂
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